Noida Resident Falls Victim To Elaborate Hotel Rating Scam, Loses Over ₹20 Lakh

The investigation is ongoing.

by Nikitha Sebastian
Noida Resident Falls Victim To Elaborate Hotel Rating Scam, Loses Over ₹20 Lakh

A cyber fraud targeting work-from-home seekers has resulted in a significant financial loss for a resident of Greater Noida. A scam promising easy money through Google Maps hotel ratings lured Sandeep Kumar into losing a staggering ₹20.54 lakh.

Victim To Elaborate Hotel Rating Scam

Image Courtesy: Canva (Representative Image)

The scam began with a seemingly innocuous text message on Kumar’s WhatsApp. The message advertised a work-from-home opportunity that promised financial rewards for rating hotels on Google Maps. Intrigued by the prospect of earning money from the comfort of his home, Kumar responded to the message.

This initial contact led him to be added to a Telegram group with roughly 100 other participants. Within the group, tasks initially involved rating hotels, as advertised. However, the facade of legitimacy quickly crumbled. The group moderators gradually shifted the focus to “investment activities,” a red flag that work-from-home scams often employ.

Kumar, trusting the apparent legitimacy of the group due to the initial rating tasks, invested ₹ 50,000 in these so-called investment activities. However, when he attempted to withdraw his initial investment, he encountered a frustrating roadblock. The website designed for the scheme conveniently prevented any withdrawals.

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Well-Orchestrated Cyber Fraud

Image Courtesy: Canva (Representative Image)

To further entrap Kumar, the scammers then demanded an additional ₹ 5 lakh, disguised as a “tax” payment necessary to access his invested funds. This outrageous demand served as a clear warning sign. It helped Kumar realise he had fallen victim to a well-orchestrated cyber fraud.

Unfortunately, by this point, Kumar had already lost a significant sum – a total of ₹20,54,464. The fraudulent website and Telegram group became inaccessible.

Adding insult to injury, Kumar started receiving “death threats” from the scammers. The Telegram messages and phone calls were likely sent to intimidate him into silence and prevent him from reporting the crime.

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Kumar lodged a formal complaint with the Greater Noida police, leading to the registration of an FIR (First Information Report) against the unidentified culprits. The investigation is ongoing. The police has pressed charges under sections 420 (cheating) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code. Additionally, relevant sections of the Information Technology Act will be applied due to the online nature of the crime.

Cover Image Courtesy: Canva (Representative Image)

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